Nebraska

Photos of the Week: Hot dishes, tulips and high fives
The week of April 12 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Tulips bloom on the West Front of the Capitol on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is heading out of town for its two-week April recess, but members had an eventful week before they hit the road. 

Spring entered full bloom as Minnesota members enjoyed delicious hotdishes during their annual cooking competition, and Democrats pow-wowed in Leesburg, Virginia, for their retreat — with some celebrity guests.

Punishment for border wall money transfer could pinch Pentagon
Lawmakers want to remind the White House who holds the power of the purse

When domestic events strain Defense Department accounts, the Pentagon is used to moving money around. But now that the president is testing that time-honored flexibility, Congress is considering a change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s controversial border wall could propel lawmakers to end a time-honored “gentleman’s agreement” that has allowed the Pentagon to shift billions of dollars around in its budget — a move that could hamstring the military’s ability to respond quickly to unforeseen events.

House Democrats are poised to retaliate against Trump’s decision to repurpose Defense Department funds to help pay for the wall along the southern border, and the Pentagon’s budget flexibility seems to be the target.

Kerry, Hagel rip Trump’s climate policies, and battle Republicans on House panel
“Are you serious? I mean this is really, a serious, happening here?” ex-SoS says at hearing

Former Sens. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., left, and John Kerry, D-Mass., testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Tuesday . (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel offered a scathing rebuke of President Donald Trump’s climate change policies to lawmakers on the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

But while they were there Tuesday, both men also had to tussle with the panel’s conservative firebrands who said fears of climate change were “alarmist notions” and repeatedly challenged Kerry and Hagel on whether they were qualified to talk about the subject.

Trump veers off post-Mueller ‘no collusion’ victory message as conservatives worry
WSJ editorial board, others warn president to drop legal effort to nix Obamacare with no replacement

President Donald Trump pauses to talk with reporters before departing the White House last week. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — President Donald Trump spent Wednesday night and Thursday morning veering from topic to topic and enemy to enemy, again stepping on a victory with other messages.

He and his surrogates could have seized on a common message after Attorney General William Barr sent Congress a summary of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report that found no criminal-level conspiracy between his 2016 campaign and Russia. They could have used that messaging blitz to more forcefully counter Democrats who are loudly noting Mueller, according to Barr, opted against exonerating Trump on obstruction of justice.

Nebraska abuzz about Sen. Ben Sasse’s future
The retirement of the University of Nebraska’s president sparks speculation

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 26: Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., arrives in the Capitol for the Senate policy luncheons on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nebraska’s political world has seized on the idea that Sen. Ben Sasse could be tapped to replace the departing president of the University of Nebraska, potentially creating an open seat in the solidly Republican state, according to local news reports. 

Democrats look to defend Obamacare with disaster aid amendment

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., is looking to put Obamacare and Democrats' defense of it front and center. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:08 p.m. | Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Wednesday said Democrats would propose an amendment to a $13.45 billion disaster aid package that would block the Justice Department from carrying out President Donald Trump’s push for a court ruling invalidating the 2010 health care law.

The move is another threat to consensus on a supplemental spending bill that leaders hoped could be negotiated in a bipartisan manner, but talks have until now been weighed down by disagreement over the package’s size and scope. Senate Democrats’ strategy introduces a new hurdle and is part of a broader push by Democrats to steer public attention toward health care.

Hearing into 737 Max crashes will focus on FAA oversight
A Senate subcommittee will question the FAA‘s certification process for the 737 Max 8 and 9 began Wednesday

A Boeing 737 Max 8 airliner takes off from Renton Municipal Airport near the company’s factory, on March 22, 2019 in Renton, Washington. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

The first of what will likely be many congressional hearings into two catastrophic overseas crashes of Boeing’s new 737 Max jets began Wednesday with senators focusing on how federal safety regulators delegate work to the manufacturers they oversee and how they react after accidents happen.

The Senate’s aviation and space subcommittee, led by Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, will question the Federal Aviation Administration’s certification process for the 737 Max 8 and 9, and the March 13 decision to ground the planes, which came after other airlines and nations had already done so.

The case for primaries: Arizona edition
Mark Kelly may have avoided an intraparty fight, but that may hurt more than help

Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly, here with his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in 2018, appears to have avoided a primary in his bid for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats breathed a sigh of relief this week when Rep. Ruben Gallego decided not to run for the Senate, likely avoiding a primary in the run-up to a competitive general election in Arizona. That’s because “bitter,” “bloody,” and “bruising” seem to be the most commonly used adjectives to describe primaries these days, even though they can serve an important purpose.

Gallego’s decision all but paved the way for retired astronaut Mark Kelly to win the Democratic nomination and focus on challenging appointed Republican Sen. Martha McSally. But while Kelly has had a public profile as a gun control advocate alongside his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, he’s never been a candidate for office, and it’s still unclear how he’ll perform.

U.S. commander warns of risks from Trump’s troop withdrawal
Votel’s testimony clashes with recent remarks by the president, who has celebrated the complete defeat of the Islamic State

Army Gen. Joseph Votel says the Islamic State remains a dangerous threat and that the president’s plan to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan could be risky. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. commander in the Middle East warned lawmakers Thursday about the risks of President Donald Trump’s plans to withdraw American forces from Syria and Afghanistan.

The Islamic State terrorist group is down to less than one square mile of territory in Iraq and Syria, but the group has made a “calculated decision” to lay low and remains a dangerous threat, Army Gen. Joseph Votel told the House Armed Services Committee.

Things that go boom: Michael Cohen, Apollo 11 and this week
“Says who?” guy from 2016 dropped in on Capitol Hill

Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, testifies Wednesday during a House Oversight and Reform hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There was so much political theater this week, it wouldn’t fit into just one podcast. So we did two! 

Michael Cohen, who will forever, at least to Political Theater, be the “Says who?” guy from the 2016 campaign, dropped in on Capitol Hill this week for a round robin of testimony with multiple committees about his fixer-for-Donald-Trump days. Sturm? Meet Drang.